[amsat-bb] ao-7 vhf beacon report

Auke de Jong, VE6PWN sparkycivic at shaw.ca
Thu Jun 26 22:28:51 PDT 2008

Has anyone noticed the mode-B beacon is behaving in an interesting new way?

Just now (over NA 05:00Z today) I recorded it sending a repeating pattern that didn't seem to be CW, just a pattern of dits numbering 1 5 7 repeating over and over. The tone quality seemed very "hash", and varied in width somewhat gradually narrower and wider to about 75Hz a-la aurora.
I have heard this pattern before on a different occasion, but at the time i didn't know for sure if it was coming from Oscar-7.  This time I know for certain that it was coming from Oscar-7!  Also, that time, the sequence was playing-out very much faster than it was tonight, so fast that I could not make out the actual sequence, only that it was repeating, probably at least twice as fast as tonight.
Does this signal have any meaning, or is it just a glitch brought-on by so many years of radiation?

on an un-related note: I wonder how many hours the electronics have on them?  I doubt any modern satellite can ever touch the record-setting performance of this old one .  

As the old saying goes... they don't make 'em like they used-to!  To which I retort: why not?!?  We've learned so much, and yet evidently, so little....

Auke de Jong
Edmonton, AB

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